Warming temperatures, budding trees, and longer days are all signs that spring has sprung. And while we all begin the spring clean-up, the PBA offers a few springtime safety reminders to keep you, your family, and your pets safe.

Review Home Safety Checklist

The National Safety Council reminds us this spring to take some simple steps for safety:

  • Change your smoke and carbon monoxide detector batteries: Day Lights Savings is Sunday, March 13th and as you set your clocks forward remember to change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Smoke detectors should be located in every bedroom and in the common areas on each floor of a home. Mount them at least 10 feet from the stove to reduce false alarms, less than 12 inches from the ceiling and away from windows, doors and ducts.Be sure to purchase smoke alarms with the label of a reputable testing agency, like Underwriters Laboratories (UL). 
Three out of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms, according to NFPA. 
  • Carbon Monoxide detectors: 
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an invisible, odorless gas, and it can kill you. Anything in the home that burns fuel can potentially become a source of carbon monoxide. CO alarms should be installed in a central location outside each bedroom and on every level of the home.
  • Review 
Family Emergency Plan: 
The National Safety Council recommends every family have an emergency plan in place in the event of a natural disaster or other catastrophic event. Spring is a great time to review that plan with family members to make sure they know what to do. 
 This plan should include a communications plan to outline how your family members will contact one another if they are not in the same place and where you should meet if it’s safe to go outside.
  • Check and update home and car first-aid kits
  • Properly dispose of unwanted or expired medication: 
 Unwanted, unused, or expired medication must be disposed of properly to protect all of us – DO NOT throw in garbage or flush down toilet. Suffolk County offers 24/7 drop-off locations to safely dispose of these medications quickly and easily (with no questions asked) at each of Suffolk County’s 7 police precincts. Drop – off locations include:
        • First Precinct, 555 Route 109, West Babylon
        • Second Precinct, 1071 Park Avenue, Huntington
        • Third Precinct, 1630 Fifth Avenue, Bay Shore
        • Fourth Precinct, 727 Veterans Memorial Highway, Hauppauge
        • Fifth Precinct, 125 Waverly Avenue, Patchogue
        • Sixth Precinct, 400 Route 25, Selden
        • Seventh Precinct, 1491 William Floyd Parkway, Shirley

Beware of Common Household Spring Cleaning Dangers

  • Preventable home injuries cause more than 20 million medical visits and 20,000
  • deaths each year, according to Meri-K Appy, President of the Home Safety Council.
  • Follow these tips from the Home Safety Council:
  • Before moving and lifting objects be sure to make a clear and free path to walk through.
  • When lifting objects, lift using your legs and tighten your stomach — this will take the strain off your back and reduce the chance of back injury. If an object is too heavy, ask someone to help!
  • When you are hanging pictures or reaching high objects, use a step-stool or ladder and not a chair — chairs are often unstable and not built for standing on.

    Beware of Household Cleaners – Safety Tips to Avoid Poison Hazards

  • Never mix cleaning supplies, the fumes can be very dangerous.
  • Be sure all dangerous products have child resistant closures and are locked up and stored in high places in their original containers.
  • Wear gloves when using harsh cleaning agents.
  • Store cleaning products far from where food is kept.
  • Keep products that are in use away from children.
  • Keep spray cleaners far away from pets’ water bowls and food dishes.
  • To reduce the possibility of lead poisoning, clean windowsills and other areas with soapy water; make sure there is no chipping paint left around windowsills, play areas, or countertops.
  • The Home Safety Council is a nonprofit organization solely dedicated to unintentional home injury prevention, awareness, and education. For more information on home injury prevention, log onto www.homesafetycouncil.org.

Pet Safety

The ASPCA reminds us to make sure our furry family members stay safe this spring too. Below are some surprising hazards and tips from our ASPCA friends:

Easter Treats and Decorations

Keep lilies and candy in check—chocolate goodies are toxic to cats and dogs, and all true lilies can be fatal if ingested by cats. And be mindful, kitties love to nibble on colorful plastic grass, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting and dehydration. Moreover, while live bunnies, chicks and other festive animals are adorable, resist the urge to buy them—these cute babies grow up fast and often require specialized care.

Cleaning Products

Almost all cleaning products, even all-natural ones, contain chemicals that may be harmful to pets. The key to using them safely is to read and follow label directions for proper use and storage. Please visit the Poisonous Household Products page at ASPCA.org for more information.

Garden Dangers

Fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides keep our plants and lawns healthy and green, but their ingredients may be dangerous if your pet ingests them. Always store these products in out-of-the-way places and follow label instructions carefully. Many popular springtime plants—including rhododendron and azaleas—are also highly toxic to pets and can prove fatal if eaten. Check out the full list of toxic and non-toxic plants at ASPCA.org.

Flea, Tick & Heartworm Prevention

Warmer weather brings back all kinds of bugs. Make sure your pet is on year-round heartworm preventive medication, as well as a flea and tick control program.

Pet Identification

Warmer weather means more trips to the park, longer walks and more chances for your pet to wander off. Make sure your dog or cat has a microchip for identification and wears a tag imprinted with your home address, cell phone and any other relevant contact information.

If you suspect your pet may have come in contact with or ingested a potentially poisonous substance, contact your local veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center immediately at (888) 426-4435.